Blood, Thigh Sweat, and Tears at the Ballet



I lean against the wall outside Mariinsky theatre reading “Sherlock’s Holmes: The Sheppard on Horseback” and listening to The B-52’s.

It’s an uncomfortable combination.

I close my kindle and slip it into my pocket. The sun hides behind a cloud. It begins to hail. I light a cigarette and watch. The ballet starts in fifteen minutes, Swan Lake.

I’ve been to Mariinsky before, never a ballet. My mother always says the ballet makes her cry. I wonder if I’ll cry as I walk up to the third tier. The babushka at the coat-check hands me some opera glasses.

I take my seat. It is hard. I use the opera glasses to look around for nose-pickers, no luck. Everyone sits, stoic. Except a little boy, across the way, second tier, riffling through his mother’s purse.

The lights dim, then go out. An obese Chinese woman with warm thighs sits next to…

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